Jury returns verdict of $4,750,000 for the death of 19-year-old single junior college student; loss was to his 58+-year-old parents.
Robert W. Johnson & Associates were retained to first, provide economic testimony, on the recognized and accepted Willingness- To-Pay (WTP) theory. The WTP establishes a range of dollar values, that assist the jury in calculating the loss of care, comfort, society, etc. to the surviving parents. Second, to prepare a LIFE ACTIVITY CALENDAR that powerfully and graphically summarizes the close family relationship.
Location: Long Beach, California
Case: Hashimoto, et al., v. Horeczko, et al.
Court: California Superior Court, Los Angeles, No. SOCI02529
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Brian Detrick and Richard Devirain, Wilmington, California.
Case Synopsis: Mr. Claude Hashimoto, a 19-year-old junior college student, had attended a party at the residence of the defendant’s. At this party the defendants charged an admission fee and served alcoholic beverages. At the end of the party a fight broke out when people didn't leave quickly enough, and one of the defendants stabbed Mr. Hashimoto to death with a knife. Mr. Hashimoto was a popular high school graduate who coached both middle school basketball and soccer. His goal was to work in business management. His father was an accountant and his mother a teacher. No claim was made for lost economic support.
Expert Consultation: Mr. Johnson testified that, based on Willingness-To-Pay studies used by both academic and federal government agencies, an accepted range for the loss of the human value or "non-economic" value of the loss of life is from $1,800,000 to a mid-point of $6,200,000.
He testified that economists have concluded that the Willingness- To-Pay dollar values are useful when compensation involves putting a dollar figure on non-financial losses to survivors. Non-financial losses, according to Mr. Johnson, include such elements as care, comfort, society, etc.
Attorney Comments: "With special damages limited to funeral expenses, the focus was on your testimony. Your direct testimony was presented in a clear, understandable and conservative manner. You helped the jury understand that the numbers you presented were conservative and downwardly biased. During cross examination, your answers were explained so clearly that cross became re-direct. Your testimony empowered the jury with the relevant economic data.
The LIFE ACTIVITY CALENDAR helped focus, both the parents and the jury's attention, on all of the quality-time that this family spent together. The LIFE ACTIVITY CALENDAR was admitted through the parents."
Results: The defense offered less than $150,000 pre-trial. During trial they asked for a $150,000 verdict. The jury awarded $4,750,000 in damages to the surviving family.